Making small rooms seem bigger
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Making small rooms seem bigger

Living spaces are getting smaller and smaller, especially for the 60 per cent of the population who live in our densely populated capital cities. Lack of space can pose problems when it comes to cramming that six-seater couch into the living room, fitting all your clothes into the wardrobe, or even just making the living room free of clutter.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t do with limited space, look at what options are available to you that will help you make the most of what you’ve got.

Here are a few key things to consider:

Declutter

Small spaces seem to accumulate clutter a great deal faster than larger ones, so it’s important to keep on top of accumulating junk. Not many of us enjoy cleaning out closets, drawers or pantries, but making this a part of your regular cleaning routine will clear your home of unnecessary items that are taking up precious space.

Tackling the problem a little bit at a time will also save you from having to do a massive clean out later, which will seem like a very daunting task indeed when every drawer and cupboard is bursting at the seams.

Use mirrors and windows

Mirrors and other reflective surfaces help a room to appear larger than it is by bouncing light around the space.

Effective use of these two elements could include a glass coffee table instead of a wooden one, or putting mirrors into corners to make the room seem longer.

Windows have dual benefits of letting light in and making the room look larger. However be careful you don’t clutter the window area with too many things (such as pot plants) because that can have the opposite effect.

Paint with light colours

Dark-hued wallpaper or flooring can shrink a space drastically; a light paint job for all walls and ceilings will open up any room.

However, don’t feel you are limited to white, as light greys, blues, yellows, beige or sand tones will all do the trick too. Add colour with furnishings and artwork.

Lighten up

Slimline lamps are great to cast light on a small area of a room and make it appear larger. You could also replace floor and table lamps with wall sconces which both frees up space and throws light on the walls. Well placed mirrors can also bounce light around a room – an illusion that enlarges almost any space.

Smart storage solutions

The best way to approach storage in an environment with limited space is to first make use of storage spaces you already have; vertical space is often forgotten, as are cupboards under the stairs or space under the bed.

This saves you from purchasing a whole heap of storage boxes or shelving you don’t need that will then end up taking up more space. Once you’ve figured out exactly what needs to be put away, then decide on a suitable storage solution.

Size and material of furniture

When it comes to furniture, consider lighter colours and fabrics, or maybe even opt for a see through style of furniture to give the illusion of more space.

It’s also a good idea to downsize furniture as a general rule. Be careful you don’t go overboard though; this doesn’t mean only having two armchairs for the whole family!

Rather than opting for a giant L-shaped couch, go for a two or three seater, and choose a slightly smaller dining table, perhaps with funky benches instead of individual chairs.

Deep artwork

Whilst its best to downsize furniture to prevent cluttering a small space, ramping up the size of artwork on the walls can actually make a room feel larger, especially art with a lot of depth.

Another great idea is to line up smaller bits of art in a vertical fashion, as it draws the eye up into the vertical space of a room.

Dividers

Don’t build a wall, put in a divider instead to help create the illusion of more space. That way, you get the benefits of two different spaces without sacrificing vertical space or light.

Design wise, choose a pattern with depth or keep it simple, as some busy patterns can make the space seem cluttered.

Don’t forget the floors!

Hardwood floors are lovely, but remember that narrow floorboards can make a space seem smaller than it really is. If you like rugs, ensure the sides aren’t too close to the walls. As with dark colours, this can give the impression that the walls are ‘swallowing’ the floor.

Top tips room by room

  • Kitchen
    Create extra pantry space by placing wire racking on the back of doors.
  • Home office
    A wall filing system gets paper up off your desk and organised, but still in a handy location.
  • Bathroom
    Installing units that are suspended on the wall instead of free standing cabinets free up floor space, as well as making this usually tiny room look larger.
  • Bedroom
    In a room where your bed might take up the majority of floor space, it’s ideal to maximise your vertical storage space with lots of shelving.
  • Living room
    Don’t be tempted to shove everything against the wall; spreading your furniture around the living space rather than grouping it together can actually emphasises size between objects.
  • Dining room
    While white walls and ceilings does open up a space, don’t be afraid to get creative with some unique lighting or colours on the ceiling; drawing the eye upwards gives the room the illusion of more height.

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Katie Adema

Katie previously worked as a journalist across print and radio before making the switch to PR. Her work has appeared in Green Lifestyle Magazine and online publication The Kids Are Alright, and more recently she has written myriad articles for newsletters, magazines, websites and online publications.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.